U.S. stocks closed on a sharply higher note, erasing early losses, buoyed by the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates at exceptionally low levels at least through late 2014 to boost economic growth.
The Dow industrial average gained 0.66 percent to finish at 12,758.85. The Nasdaq Stock Market advanced 1.14 percent to end at 2,818.31. Standard and Poor's 500 rose 0.87 percent to close at 1,326.06 on Wednesday.
The Fed expects unemployment to remain elevated and inflation "subdued." It said the economy has been expanding moderately, notwithstanding some slowing in global growth.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: (AAPL, NFLX, LSI, FIO, ILMN, SNDK)
In corporate news, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) extended its rally to finish at $446.66, up 6.2 percent. The technology company's quarterly earnings more than doubled, spurred by sharp rise in demand for the iPhone and iPad. iPhone sales soared 128 percent to 37.04 million units in the first quarter. Apple sees second-quarter earnings per share of $8.50 on sales of $32.5 billion. Analysts expect the company to earn $8.03 per share on sales of $32.04 billion.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) jumped 10.4 percent to $105.00 in extended trading after the provider of subscription-based Internet services posted better-than-forecast quarterly earnings. The company earned 73 cents a share in the fourth quarter, sailing past expectations of 55 cents a share. For the first quarter, the company sees a net loss between $9 million and $27 million on flat sequential revenue growth due to a sharp decline in DVD members.
LSI Corp. (NYSE:LSI) surged 9.3 percent to $7.74 in extended trading after the maker of storage systems issued an upbeat revenue view. For the first quarter, the company expects non-GAAP earnings per share from continuing operations in the range of $0.09 to $0.15 on revenue between $550 million and $590 million. Analysts expect earnings of $0.10 per share on revenue of $509 million. LSI posted fourth-quarter non-GAAP earnings per share from continuing operations of 13 cents, ahead of consensus of 10 cents. Revenue was $523 million, below Wall Street projections of $526 million.
SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ:SNDK) dropped 3.9 percent in extended trading after data storage services company posted a fall in quarterly earnings. Its fourth-quarter GAAP earnings declined to $281 million or $1.14 per share from $485 million or $2.01 per share in the year-ago quarter.